A collection of emotions washed over the Doringbaai shore this morning, where over 200 athletes readied themselves for this year’s gruelling adventure race, Expedition Africa. The 560km event featured on the Adventure Racing World Series circuit officially commenced at 0900 this morning from the local fishing beach.
Supporters and locals cheered in support from the Doringbaai pier, as teams gathered along the shoreline. Local fisherman chartered their fishing boats and transported team captains to a marshal based at sea, where they were able to collect their team trackers.
The excitement upon the beach was electric; emotions were heightened and nerves had set in. Once all 52 team captains had retrieved their tracker and reunited with their team mates, they prepared for the official start, which kicked off with a 19km trekking leg.
The first leg of the eight, teams travelled North along the beautiful coastline well known as the Namaqua West Coast, collecting 14 checkpoints. A 50km paddle leg will follow venturing teams along the ‘not-so-wet’ Olifants River, colleting an addition three checkpoints before reaching Transition Area 2.
Early leaders are teams Jabberwock and Keyhealth Neverest.
“Our region has gone through an incredibly difficult time with the recent drought, sucking so much energy and hope from our communities. Expedition Africa has truly given our region hope again, watching the ‘sea of pink’ in the form of this year’s race bibs consume our little town of Vanrhynsdorp has been magic, and to top it all off the rain began falling all over our region yesterday” shares Monika De Jager of the Namaqua West Coast tourism.
“After dreaming of hosting Expedition Africa for the past two years, I cannot believe this day has finally arrived. Heidi & Stephan’s dedication and passion for this sport and what they do is incredible to witness. The dedication and resilience from every single team taking part in this magnificent event is both heart warming and inspiring – there are so many stories to tell. Words cannot describe how much this event has moved me, and we have only just begun” further expresses De Jager.
Leading teams are expected to reach TA 2 by days end, where they will rest, refuel and get ready to tackle this year’s ‘monster leg’ – a gruelling 198km cycle leg. A new set of maps will be handed out at Transition Area 3, where navigators will be required to plot and plan their way forward.
Be sure to follow all the action online and on social media. Dot watchers can see the live tracking of the race at http://live.arworldseries.com/africa18/
The Expedition Africa Facebook page has up to the minute coverage at https://www.facebook.com/kineticeventsafrica/ Follow their Instagram feed at https://www.instagram.com/expafrica/
For more information on the AR World Series:
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/arworldseries/
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Released 20 May 2018 by Trystan Viaene, Kinetic Events
Photo Bruce Viaene